So today was spent just wandering around Brisbane. It is quite an interesting place.
There is an amazing pedestrian shopping street called the Queens Street Mall, which has outdoor restaurants all along the center. There are shops lining the footpath, and mazes shopping centers going under the pavement and across the street. We have been visiting this street pretty much every night since we got here, as it seems to be the only place that stays open.
This is a peculiar place for opening hours. Today is Saturday. Most of the shops were closed at 4pm. Yes, the shops were shut just as the town was getting busy. This has been the case every night. The shops shut on Thursday at 6, and yesterday they stayed open late until 8 pm! Ooooohh. I really do not understand how such a modern society has such antiquated opening hours. This morning we went out of the hotel for breakfast (it is $29 per person in the hotel), and we could hardly find anywhere open â€“ and there were hundreds of people wandering about already.
The rest of Australia has hinted a little at some strange hours, but not as blatant as it is here in Brisbane.
Last night whilst we were looking for a nice place to eat, we came across an English style pub. I got refused entry. Yes, this â€œEnglish Pubâ€ had a dress code. My jeans, t-shirt, and closed toed sandals were far too lower class for me to enter an English pub. As I stared disbelievingly at the bouncer, who probably thought I was going to start a fight, he said he gets a lot of English people on holiday who canâ€™t get in. I explained that a Pub having such a dress code is fairly unique â€“ he smiled and said this is a common complaint from the English, and confided the owner had never been to Englandâ€¦ Anyway, he passed on a tip for a nice restaurant round the corner where we ended up eating.
There is a nice little city botanical garden where we had our picnic lunch this afternoon. It is nowhere near as impressive as the Sydney Botanical Gardens, but it was pleasant enough to eat in, and to wander along the banks of the river (Staying 5 metres away from the water at all times). As we wandered along we came across a pedestrian bridge, which took us across the river to the site of the 1988 Worlds Fair. It is now a public park, with some of the fair attractions still standing, but most of them long gone. I never understand this. Governments seem to spend a lot of money building such glorious attractions, and then trash them after a very short life time. The Millenium Dome in London is a fine example of this.
Anyway, by the time we wandered through the South Bank park as the site is now known, it was time to go through the Queen St Mall for the last time. We had to stop at every store on the way through, as my lovely wife has to inspect the inside of every souvenir shop, just in case they have something we have not bought yet.
By the time we got back to the hotel, my arms were a few inches longer thanks to the gift items that had been purchased. No worries, all par for the course mate!
Anyway, today was our last day in Australia. Tomorrow morning we fly to Christchurch, New Zealand. We have really enjoyed Australia, and will miss it greatly.